Art & Design from 1860 sale proves demand for 20th Century items

Cheffins’ landmark Art & Design from 1860 sale saw top prices paid for twentieth century artworks, furniture and collectables from the firm’s salerooms in Cambridge UK.

  • Authenticated drawing by Alberto Giacometti sells for £130,000, over triple its lower presale estimate of £40,000
  • Omar Ramsden collection makes £33,300 across nine lots  

Sarah Flynn, head of Paintings at Cheffins comments: “The Giacometti drawing has reaffirmed Cheffins’ position as a player on the global auction stage and we were honoured to offer this incredibly important work for sale. It was the highlight of the day with competitive bids coming in from Europe and the US. The hammer finally fell at over triple its bottom presale estimate, eventually selling to a telephone bid from a UK-based buyer. Signed works by top name artists including Francis Bacon and Laurence Stephen Lowry also drew international attention, all selling for high prices. Twentieth century paintings are consistently commanding high values and there is an emerging group of contemporary British artists who are now becoming increasingly popular in the collectors’ market. These include the likes of Gerald Leet, John Ward, Henry Cornell and Frank Archer, all of whom saw their paintings sell for higher prices than previously achieved.”

Signed prints achieved high prices at the sale including a limited edition, signed lithograph by Francis Bacon titled Oedipus and the Sphinx which sold for £8,500, whilst a signed print The Pond by L.S. Lowry achieved £3,200. Other key collectable artists which saw high prices include a picture by Mary Fedden achieve £4,400 and a watercolour by Mark Gertler realise £3,200. 

Within the decorative arts section a fine collection of Omar Ramsden silver consigned from North Yorkshire achieved £33,300 across nine lots, selling to a mix of private buyers and collectors. A rare Vienna period vase by Dame Lucie Rie tripled in value, having been bought in 2012 for £950 and eventually selling for £3,200. A set of six stoneware cups and saucers also by Rie achieved £7,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £1,500 - £2,500. A large collection of 25 lots of Hungarian Zsolnay ceramics sold for an above estimate £18,000, all making multiples of their pre-sale estimates. The majority of these were bought by two Hungarian purchasers and will be returning to their country of origin. 

Martin Millard, Director, Cheffins comments: “The results of this sale reinforce the strength of demand for contemporary furniture, furnishings and decorative objects. The Omar Ramsden lots did particularly well as did the Lucie Rie items and this goes to show that the top flight of 19th and 20th century designers command high prices as they becoming increasingly difficult to source.”

Other collectables popular on the day included a 1930’s Dunhill Aquarium lighter which sold for £3,200 and a bronze model of a heron by David Wynne which sold for £4,000. 

The next Cheffins Art & Design from 1860 Sale will take place on 25th January 2018. 

For more information, contact the Fine Art team on, or t: 01223 213343

*Prices achieved are hammer prices, not including buyer’s premium.



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